The first community fridge in Taichung: Building a hunger-free network in Taiwan

Press release by Mustard Seed Mission

The Mustard Seed Mission (MSM) promotes the concept of “Zero Hunger – Build a Hunger-free Network”, achieving a sustainable environment by optimizing the value of food through sharing. No requirement nor condition asked, residents can get food from the community fridge whenever they need it. It is also a way to reduce waste of resources and show respect to the food producer.

On April 7th, the first Community Fridge was launched in Pingan village, Taichung City, Taiwan. Through donation and redistribution, extra food returns to the food system and becomes a blessing to people in need. In the one-month trial run, nearly a hundred local residents have used the Community Fridge and benefited from it.

In the Community Fridge launch ceremony on April 7th, Xu Ji-Xie, deputy head of Beitun District Office, City Councilor Lai Shun-Ren and Shen You-Lian, local seniors and residents participated the significant moment together.

Residents at opening ceremony of Pingan Village community fridge
Pingan village residents are actively involved in the Community Fridge service.

Deputy head Xu pointed out the importance of sharing and cherishing. He said it is good to see people in need benefited from the fridge. It is also heartwarming to see people get involved in the community by managing the fridge and sharing food.

Councilor Shen expressed gratitude to MSM for the concept promotion of the common good and sharing. The MSM community service center is a place of love for the residents to show care for each other. Councilor Lai admired the concept of Community Fridge, and he appreciated that the village chief Wu has set a great example for others to follow.

Wu Ya-Jun, Chief of Pingan Village, expressed her gratitude for the establishment of Community Fridge. She mentioned that the senior population proportion of Pingan Village is 16%, 3.3% higher than the average rate of Beitun District (12.7%). Through interacting with the village chief and volunteers, and receiving the food they need, the local residents have more willingness to walk into the community including granny who lives alone.

The Community Fridge is a good mechanism to create more opportunities to reach those hidden ones in the community and provide them further and immediate help. During the one-month trial run, shared food such as bread and buns, were delivered and benefited about 100 people. Wu said the fridge is the hub of love in the community, revealing people’s willingness of sharing.

Yu Ting-Ting, director of the Central and Southern District of the Community Development Division of MSM, said that according to data from the Environmental Protection Administration, it is estimated that the yearly average food waste per person in Taiwan is about 96 kg, 20% higher than China, Japan, and Korea, rating the same as American and European countries. MSM devotes to domestic community works for underprivileged children, women, and the elderly for years. By launching the model of Mustard Seed Community Network, the sharing and mutual assistance network is promoted. The Community Fridge, an expanding service of MSM community foodbank, is to receive food from the public and delivering it to the people in need.

MSM connects local caring stores such as bakeries that are willing to donate bread and buns every week. The community fridge is managed by the village office. Mr. Chen, a bakery owner, showed his strong support to the community fridge service, and donated food right away in the ceremony.

The Community Fridge in Pingan village opens every Wednesday afternoon at 3 pm, people in need are welcomed to take food at the village office.

Village Chief Wu Ya-Jun encourages residents to share extra food for sustaining this meaningful service. Cooperating with village offices and churches, MSM is going to set up 11 more Community Fridges all over Taiwan this year to help more vulnerable families in the communities through the Hunger-free Network.

Resident gives food for community fridge
Through donation and redistribution, extra food returns to the food system and becomes a blessing to people in need.
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